News Archive


Kent County Arts Council Celebrates MIGRATION with Jacob Lawrence inspired plays, student art, and Red Devil Moon!

The Kent County Arts Council (KCAC) is producing a monumental project nearly a year in the making, inspired by the famous Great Migration Series, painted by Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence. The Series includes 60 panels of scenes from the Great Migration of African Americans from the “Jim Crow” South to the Industrial North. The Lawrence works hang in both the Philips Collection in Washington DC (odd numbers Panels 1- 59) and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (even numbered panels 2-60).

The project idea came when KCAC Director John Schratwieser talked with friend and colleague Norman Allen (Playwright, The Christmas Foundling, Produced at the Prince Theater in 2008.). Mr. Allen was selected by Jacqueline E. Lawton, Professor of Theater at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to join her as one of five playwrights commissioned by the Philips Collection to create five new ten-minute plays, each based on one of the Lawrence panels. Ms. Lawton immediately agreed to work with the KCAC to produce the plays right here in Kent County. The plays will be presented as rehearsed readings. They have been cast locally and will be directed by Michele Volansky, Chair, Department of Theater and Dance at Washington College. The playwrights, from across the country, are Norman Allen, Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, Annalisa Diaz, Jacqueline E. Lawton, and Laura Shamas.


On November 1 – 4 at the Garfield Center for the Arts, the plays will be featured as act two of a three-part evening. The evening begins with Act 1 at 6 p.m. at Chestertown RiverArts where the student artwork, based on their trip to the Phillips Collection, will be on display. Act 2 begins at 7 p..m. at the Garfield. After a short intermission, Act 3 is a scaled version of the locally written and produced Migration story – Red Devil Moon, by Robert Earl Price and Pam Ortiz, featuring the Pam Ortiz Band and Sombarkin. What an evening it will be! This three-part program will occur November 1, 2 and 3 beginning at 6 p.m. at RiverArts and 7 p.m. at the Garfield, and again on Sunday, November 4 at 2 p.m. at RiverArts and 3 p.m. at the Garfield. Sunday’s performance will be followed by a “talk-back” featuring the Director, the five Playwrights, and the creators of Red Devil Moon. Click here to purchase tickets.

On September 25, the KCAC took nearly 40 students from Kent County High School, and all five of the Kent County Public Schools visual art teachers to the Philips Collection in DC for a tour of the museum, with a specific focus of the Migration Series panels, and they all had a chance to meet with Ms. Lawton and hear about her process for creating this celebration of art through theater.

On October 25, the Garfield will present a free daytime production of Red Devil Moon to a theatre full of students from all over Kent County including Kent County Middle and High Schools, Radcliffe Creek School and the Kent School.

The Kent County Arts Council is pleased to work so closely with the Kent County Public Schools and is also very grateful for this opportunity to partner directly with RiverArts and the Garfield. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Maryland State Arts Council, The Indian Point Foundation and the Hedgelawn Foundation.

Performances are:

Thursday November 1, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield

Friday November 2, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield

Saturday November 3, 6 p.m. at RiverArts, 7 p.m. at Garfield

Sunday November 4, 2 p.m. at RiverArts, 3 p.m. at Garfield

Tickets are $10 for adults. Free (with reservation required) for Students.

Call The Garfield at 410-810-2060 or visit

For more information contact John Schratwieser, Director, Kent County Arts Council at 410-778-3700 or For tickets visit our website or


Kent County Arts Council Increases Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations by 36%

The Kent County Arts Council is awarding $41,900 in General Operating grants for Fiscal Year 2019, a 36 percent increase over last year.

“This is great news for the arts in Kent County,” said Clarke Bjorke, President of the Board of KCAC. “We are awarding more funding support and asking our grantee organizations to use these funds to serve more of the residents of Kent County – everybody wins!”

The applications were reviewed, and awards approved, by a committee of five sitting KCAC Board Members. This year’s recipients are:

Chestertown RiverArts – $10,000
Garfield Center for the Arts – $9,500
The Mainstay – $9,000
National Music Festival – $6,250
Chester River Chorale – $2,900
Kent County Community Marching Band – $1,500
Chester River Youth Chorale – $1,000
Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble – Pending

Each year the KCAC invests public funds, as well as time and other resources to help strengthen the county’s nonprofit arts organizations, as part of its mission to “Invest, Infuse, and Inspire.” In making these grant awards, the Arts Council is moving forward with both a new formula for funding, and new requirements for community service, diversity, and outreach.

“The money we award through grants is public money that comes directly from the Maryland State Arts Council, which is funded by an Appropriation from the Governor and Maryland General Assembly,” said John Schratwieser, Director of the Kent County Arts Council. KCAC also receives public funding from the Kent County Commissioners.

“As taxpayer dollars, these funds are designed be used to serve and benefit the residents of Kent County. Through funding, professional development and capacity-building opportunities, the KCAC seeks to help our grantees grow in their service to our residents,” he added.

For FY19, the Board approved a new policy which caps any single General Operating grant to the lesser of 50 percent of a grantee’s comparable grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, or $10,000 (MSAC grants are based on organizational budgets – and the Kent County Arts Council follows this policy.). This will enable the KCAC’s dollars to fund more organizations and reach more residents across Kent County.

The Kent County Arts Council also offers Project Grants. For FY19, the Project Grant category funds will increase by 25 percent over FY18. These grants are for community groups and other nonprofits who are not direct arts providers but offer arts-related projects or programs. This category has an open-ended deadline as funds are available. To date, nearly $4,000 has been awarded in this category.

Information about the KCAC’s grants and grant applications is online or by calling 410.778.3700.


The Kent County Arts Council presents:
THE UNLADING by Robert Earl Price

The Kent County Arts Council presents:

A Dramatized Poem, written and directed by Robert Earl Price,
Commissioned and Produced by the Kent County Arts Council for
Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend 2018.

The first stolen African people arrived in North America in August 1619 at Point Comfort, Virginia (Marker at Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA). They were used to buy food for the captain and crew of a Dutch Man of War, they were brought to Jamestown and sold. Their arrival was marked by four words, “20 and odd Negars”, by John Rolfe, in a letter to Sir Edwin Sandys, Treasurer of the Virginia Company of London. Two years later, in the Virginia census, they would be listed simply as “un-free”.

THE UNLADING is a dramatized poem in one act, written by Kent County’s award-winning playwright and poet, Robert Earl Price. Price imagines the thoughts, words and past lives of each of these enslaved Africans as they are unladed from a Dutch Man of War. (Downrigging attendees will know the Kalmar Nykle, from Wilmington, Delaware – this is a Dutch Man of War.). The poem was originally presented at Downrigging Weekend 2017 as part of a concert given by The Pam Ortiz Band, and has since been commissioned by the Kent County Arts Council into this dramatized piece. It will be performed four times throughout the 2019 Downrigging Weekend Festival at Janes Church in Chestertown with a cast of six local actors.

Performances are FREE and will be held at Janes United Methodist Church, 120 S. Cross Street, Chestertown as follows:

Friday, October 26, 2018 – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, October 28, 2018 – 1:30 p.m.

The play runs approximately 30 minutes with no intermission.

The Kent County Arts Council is pleased to present this program in partnership with Sultana Education Foundation and their Downrigging Weekend. This production is funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, The Hedgelawn Foundation and The Indian Point Foundation

Please call 410-778-3700 for more information.


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